Ten Albums for the Holidays: Country Edition

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With Christmas just around the corner, music is an integral part of the holiday season. Album after album, country artists find time to squeeze holiday music into their musical library and release Christmas albums. Seasonal tunes can be as timeless as every rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” or as fresh and fun as Sherrié Austin’s original “Naughty or Nice.” PPcorn has compiled a list of some of our favorite country holiday albums to get you into the spirit of Christmas. Whether you’re decorating your tree or looking for that perfect soundtrack for your holiday parties, these tunes are sure to get your toe tapping, while you’re “Hangin’ ‘Round the Mistletoe.”

It Won’t Be Christmas Without You was released by country duo Brooks and Dunn in 2002. The holiday songs have a classic B and D sound. You’re hooked right off the first note of “Winter Wonderland.” A perfect balance of originals and classic Christmas tunes, this album has a little something for everyone. Brooks and Dunn take some time to revive classics with a country-rock twist and create their own stamp of originality by compiling and writing five original songs for this album. Favorite track: “Winter Wonderland.”

White Christmas was originally released back in 1998 by country powerhouse Martina McBride. The album has undergone three rereleases due to its popularity with McBride’s fans. In 1999, White Christmas saw the addition of two new tracks. In 2007, four new tracks were added to the original track list, including “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” a duet with Dean Martin. In 2013, White Christmas was released as The Classic Christmas Album, with the same track list as the 2007 release, “Jingle Bells,” as well as “Blue Christmas,” her famed duet with Elvis Presley. No matter which one you have in your collection of Christmas albums, you’re bound to enjoy McBride’s powerful vocal range and her personal touch on these classic Christmas songbook tunes. Favorite track: “O Holy Night.”

The Season for Romance was added to Lee Ann Womack’s musical library in 2002. Womack turns classic Christmas songs into heartfelt ballads. Showcasing her vocals perfectly, the album is soft, entertaining, and full of the romance that Christmas brings. Harry Connick Jr lends his smooth vocals as the two pair up for their rendition of the iconic duet, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Womack takes advantage of her vocals and reminds us that as joyful and exciting Christmas can be, it can also be one of the most romantic times of the year. Favorite track: “White Christmas.”

Once Upon a Christmas blends the familiar voices of two legends of country music. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers team up on this classic holiday album. Achieving a status of double platinum is a great success for a holiday album. Originally accompanied by a holiday special, Once Upon a Christmas has been a fan favorite since its release in 1984. Still available every holiday season in stores, the album features six Rogers and Parton duets as well as solos by both artists. “A Christmas to Remember” still frequents country radio during the holiday season. Favorite track: “A Christmas to Remember.”

Country Christmas was released in 1966 by Loretta Lynn. It’s a perfect blend of traditional sounds of the season with Lynn’s own personal touch of holiday originals. Country Christmas features four original tunes, including the title track. “Country Christmas” has been a fan favorite for years, depicting the seasonal traditions of Lynn’s family. Lynn doesn’t disappoint fans with this holiday album. Her versions of these classic tunes frequent country Christmas compilation albums, as well as country radio throughout the holiday season. Favorite track: “Country Christmas.”

Songs of the Season marks the second holiday album from country artist Randy Travis. Released in 2007, the album was a success, breaking into the top ten on both Billboard’s Top Holiday Albums and Top Christian Albums. The album is a great holiday staple, featuring several familiar tunes with the classic tone of Travis’ vocals. The album features the song “Our King,” penned by Travis himself for the album. Travis sets the tone of the album with the usual country twang and classic sound that fans have come to adore. Favorite track: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

This Christmas Celebrate Me Home is the 2008 release from singer/songwriter Beverley Mahood and her second holiday album. Mahood, who is often called “Mrs. Christmas,” took the time to create some of the most refreshing arrangements in holiday music. From beginning to end, the album is paired with Mahood’s silky vocals and original arrangements on classic Christmas tunes. Hearing is believing with this holiday album. To take a traditional song such as “Deck the Halls” and arrange it to become a great Christmas ballad takes talent. Mahood, who is known for her charity work year-round and years spent frequently touring at Christmas, is no stranger to holiday music. Favorite track: “Deck the Halls.”

A Wright Christmas is the first Christmas release from Michelle Wright. Released in 2005, the album is an accompaniment to her frequent Christmas tours across North America. Taking on classic holiday tunes, the album features an original penned by Patricia Conroy, “I Know Santa’s Been Here.” Wright’s country vocals pair excellently with her renditions of favorite holiday songs. A fan favorite in country music, this is a great holiday album from Christmas parties to dinner. Favorite track: “Silent Night.”

Merry Christmas Strait to You! is the first holiday release from the king of country music himself, George Strait. The album was released in 1986 and has since been certified double platinum. The title track was written by Bob Kelly and released as a single. Strait utilizes his country voice to put his stamp on the holiday songbook. With five original songs, this album is perfect to throw on while trimming your tree or sitting by a cozy fire. Strait has since released three more successful Christmas albums, adding them to his giant musical library of over 20 studio albums. Favorite track: “Winter Wonderland.”

Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas was released in November 1999 by country megastar Garth Brooks as his second holiday album. Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas is a great upbeat holiday album with Brooks covering some of the most well-known holiday songs. Songs from the original album were used in the 2001 film, Call Me Claus, and it has since been rereleased as Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas: Songs From Call Me Claus. Whichever version of this album you happen to get your hands on, you’re sure to love Brooks’ take on these Christmas tunes. Favorite track: “Sleigh Ride.”

Over the years, timeless traditional songs and their country renditions have filled playlist after playlist with each artist’s stamp of creativity. In addition to those listed, LeAnn Rimes, Johnny Reid, Johnny Cash, Billy Gilman, Lynn Anderson, Wynonna Judd, Reba McEntire, Sugarland, Faith Hill, Clay Walker, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Lonestar, Trisha Yearwood, Toby Keith, Merle Haggard, Lady Antebellum, Ronnie Milsap, Brad Paisley, Scotty McCreery, Alabama, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, and countless other country artists have produced quality Christmas albums. Feel free to share some of your favorites down below.

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